Volgograd Travel Guide

Volgograd Travel Guide

photo of the  Motherland Calls Monument in Volgograd

Introduction


Volgograd is a city in the south-east of the European part of Russia, the administrative centre of the Volgograd region. It is famous for the Battle of Stalingrad and the huge statue, the Motherland Calls. Today, it is a city with well-developed infrastructure, numerous theatres and plenty of cultural entertainment.


Historical Overview


Volgograd is located between the Volga and Don Rivers.

Frequent attacks on merchant ships and the march of Turks and Crimeans across Perevolok to Astrakhan in 1569 forced Ivan the Terrible and the boyars to transform the small settlement in the south of the country. Several fortresses (Saratov, Samara, Tsaritsyn) were built at that time.

The foundation date of the city is considered to be 12 July 1589. It was the date of a letter sent by Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich to Prince Grigory Zasekin, who was commissioned to build a new city, Tsaritsyn.
According to one version, the city was named after the Tsaritsa River. It became a guard fortress to protect Russia’s lands and the great Volga route from raids by nomads on the south-eastern borders of the Russian state. In 1606, on the order of False Dmitry I, the Volga Cossacks captured the city, proclaiming one of their
comrades Tsarevich Peter, the son of Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich. From here, the Cossacks intended to march on Moscow, but the death of False Dmitry changed their decision. Several years later, Tsaritsyn was almost completely destroyed by fire. In 1615, the city was rebuilt anew, but on the right bank of the Volga. In those years, the trade and ambassadorial courts of Persia, Bukhara, India and other countries came under the protection of the fortress. The customs system was established in Tsaritsyn in 1691 as there was a lively trade in salt and fish. In 1723, Peter I visited the city.
At the beginning of the 19 th century, the first industrial enterprises began to appear in the city. Three brick, two candlestick, one mustard and a beer factory were built at that time. Five trading routes to Moscow, Astrakhan, Saratov, Cherkasy and Tsarevskaya passed the city. In 1774, the city was destroyed
by fire.
In 1925, Tsaritsyn was renamed Stalingrad. In 1928, the city became the centre of the district in the Nizhnevolzhsky region, while in 1932, it became the centre of the Lower Volga region. In 1934, after the division of the Lower Volga region into Saratov and Stalingrad, Stalingrad became the centre of the
latter. More than 50 new plants were built during the 1930s. In 1940, there were 126 enterprises in Stalingrad.
During the Second World War, the city became one of the largest arsenals in the south-east of the country. Stalingrad’s factories produced and repaired tanks, artillery pieces, ships, mortars, assault rifles and other weapons.
In the spring of 1942, regular attacks by fascist planes on Stalingrad began. In 1961, the city was renamed Volgograd. Today, the city is a large industrial centre. It contains more than 160 large and medium-sized industrial enterprises: electric power industry, fuel industry, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, chemical and petrochemical industry, machine building and metal processing, defence industry, timber industry, light and food industries.


Where to Stay


The modern city on the banks of the Volga River offers lots of accommodation options with fabulous scenery to match your budget. Tsentralny district, which contains the main sights, is the most popular destination among tourists. If you need something luxurious with exceptional service, book City Hotel, Hampton by Hilton or a spacious apartment in Volga Sails. For tourists on a budget, Hostel on Lipetskaya, Ajour Hotel or Parallel Hotel are better options. If you prefer private apartments or guest houses, choose the neighbouring Krasnooktyabrsky district.


Bars and Restaurants

 

In Volgograd, you can try traditional specialities with a modern twist. Whether you want to start your day with a delicious breakfast or have lunch, the city offers plenty of dining choices. Kazan-Mangal, Trattoria Rimini, Bamberg and Bar and Grill with first-class steaks should not be missed. At Knyagininsky Dvor, you can try European and Russian dishes. Marusya is another popular spot where you can treat yourself to fish cutlets, borshch (hearty beet soup) and syrniki (fried quark pancakes). Whatever your preference, Volgograd has tasty specialities for any occasion.


What to See

 

  • Mamayev Kurgan is a hill in the very centre of Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) where the Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad monument is located. The composition of the ensemble includes the high-relief Memory of Generations, the Square of the Dead, the Alley of Pyramidal Poplars, the Ruin Walls, the Monumental Relief, Heroes Square, the Square of Sorrow, the Hall of Military Glory, the Military Memorial Cemetery, the Memorial Dendropark at the foot of Mamayev Kurgan, and the famous The Motherland Calls, the world’s largest statue. The ascent of the mountain along the alleys is like a ritual and leaves an indelible impression on all who make it.
  • The “Battle of Stalingrad” museum panorama is a memorial complex of unusual form dedicated to the defeat of the German fascist troops at Stalingrad. Within the museum, there is an exposition with examples of military equipment, a number of monuments and the building of the Gergardt mill. The ruins were not restored deliberately, unlike Pavlov's House, which also suffered during the war. The mill, destroyed by shells, serves as a symbol of battle and cruelty which affected the fate of every inhabitant of Volgograd.
  • One of the most striking symbols of the heroism of the Soviet people in the Second World War, Pavlov's house in Volgograd is a historical monument of national importance and a must-see place for those who are interested in Russian history. It looks like an ordinary apartment house, but it became an obstacle for the German army: its defence by a group of Soviet soldiers lasted 58 days, and the house never fell into enemy hands.
  • The central embankment is decorated with a terrace, colonnade and rotunda. Here, you can relax and enjoy peaceful views over the Volga River.
  • If you want to see models of Soviet space vehicles including the famous Vostok and Luna-3 satellite and the working Foucault pendulum, visit the city’s planetarium. The real interest begins in the Star Hall. It’s a room with a huge domed screen where you can see more than 6000 stars in our galaxy. The projection is accompanied by a detailed and fascinating lecture by the guide.


Transport


The city has an unusual shape: it is almost 60 km long, but its width is just a few kilometres. There are two railway stations here: Tsentralny and Yuzhny (Central and Southern). When in Volgograd, don’t miss the chance to take a tram ride, as some of the tram stations are underground. The city can also boast an extensive bus network with 238 routes. All routes are available online. In some districts, you can use river transport. Kupi-guest is a travel card which gives a discount on public transport and attractions.

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